Bicycling is a great way to get some exercise and to travel the crowded streets of San Francisco, not to mention that it is good for the environment. The majority of bicyclists are never hurt in an crash and safely make it to their destinations. However, nationwide almost 50,000 bicyclists are injured in collisions with automobiles every year. In most of those cases, the automobile driver is to blame for the wreck.
California has the highest rate of cyclist deaths in the U.S. This is in part due to our large population and our weather, which lends itself to year-round cycling. In San Francisco, unfortunately, bicycling can be dangerous. Roughly 10 percent of all traffic deaths in San Francisco are bicyclists, which is higher than in other cities in the U.S.
Currently, plans are underway to make San Francisco’s streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. About 70 percent of all severe and fatal accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians happen on about 12 percent of total streets, or roughly 125 miles out of 1,000 miles of total road in San Francisco. In addition, the SFPD has pledged to increase citations for the most dangerous traffic behaviors, including speeding, running red lights and stop signs, filing to yield, and unsafe turning.
There are a number of dangers that San Francisco bicyclists face on its streets every day. Some of these dangers can be avoided by bicyclists, but others cannot.
- Drunk and drugged drivers. In approximately 37 percent of all accidents between bicyclists and automobiles, alcohol is involved, in either the cyclist or the driver. As a bicyclist, you should never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Obviously, if you see someone driving in a reckless manner, you should pull over and call 911.
- Dangerous roads. As mentioned above, the vast majority of San Francisco bicycle collisions happen on 125 miles of road. Become educated about which streets are the most dangerous and explore if there is an alternate path for you to take to avoid these dangerous routes.
- Car doors. In urban areas, there has been an increase in injuries to bicyclists involving car doors. Many occupants of automobiles do not stop to look before opening their car doors, which can be dangerous to bicyclists. Try to avoid riding next to lanes of parked cars, if you can.
- Turning vehicles. Many crashes occur when vehicles are making either a right hand turn or a left hand turn. The automobile may fail to see a bicyclist and could either hit the bicycle from the rear or during the turn. It’s critical that bicyclists pay careful attention and drive very defensively through intersections.
- Blind spots. Another common cause of bicycle accidents occurs when drivers fail to check their blind spots for bicyclists. Bicyclists must be aware of this potential danger and should avoid riding in an automobile’s blind spot.
Although San Francisco bicyclists face a number of dangers on the City’s streets, that should not deter people from biking. A good helmet, avoiding certain streets, and defensive driving can go a long way towards preventing accidents.
If you have been injured in a San Francisco bicycle accident, call San Francisco bicycle accident attorney Micha Star Liberty at 510-645-1000. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Micha Star Liberty works with clients throughout the San Francisco Bay area, including Oakland, Tracy, Fairfield, San Jose, Sacramento, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas. Call Liberty Law today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation. You pay nothing until we obtain compensation for you.